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Former Mountie too mentally ill to testify at fatality inquiry, judge rules

Fort MacLeod, AB (Vancouver Sun) – The former Mountie who shot and killed a man more than 10 years ago will not have to testify at a fatality inquiry examining the death, over concerns for his mental health, a judge ruled this afternoon.

Judge Derek Redman said he is concerned about the reliability of any testimony Mike Ferguson may give if compelled to speak.

Noting there are other forms of evidence the inquiry can rely on, Redman excused Ferguson from testifying.

Ferguson fatally shot 26-year-old Darren Varley in the jail cells of the Pincher Creek RCMP detachment on Oct. 3, 1999.

After two trials ended in hung juries, he was convicted of manslaughter in the case.

Varley’s family said they didn’t believe Ferguson’s psychologist’s evidence that the former officer is too mentally unwell to speak at the inquiry.

“You have to finish what you start,” said Alaine Varley-Spencer, the victim’s sister.

But Varley’s mother Cheryl said forcing Ferguson to testify does not accomplish anything. “It doesn’t bring (Darren) back,” she said.

The inquiry will continue with submissions from family and two lawyers involved in the review, although no further dates have been set.

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Categories: Death While In Custody, External Reviews, Failing to do Their Duties, Internal Discipline, Senior Management, Shoddy Investigations.

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